The Knox County District Attorney General's office released its report on the number of overdose cases tied to previous interactions with the criminal justice system.
In 2016, there were 224 drug related deaths in Knox County. Of those, 45 percent had been arrested or incarcerated in the last five years. Out of that 45 percent, 67 percent died within 18 months of their release from custody. The largest of that group died within the first 90 days of release. Notably, almost 20 percent of those who had some itneraction with law enforcement in the last year had it within a month of their death.
"We can see that the most dangerous time for an individual living with addiction to relapse is during the period shortly after their release from incarceration because their tolerance is lower," said District Attorney Charme Allen. "As prosecutors, we have an opportunity to intervene and engage high-risk individuals in treatment programs or halfway houses as part of their sentence. There is also an opportunity for community agencies to partner with law enforcement to create a cross-sector plan to overcome this epidemic."
The Knox County District Attorney's Office says it is committed to attacking Knox County's drug problem from all angles, including prosecution, prevention, and treatment measures. Law enforcement and prosecutors have also pinpointed community hot spots and supply sources through reviewing drug related death causes.
The full report can be found here.